Media Coverage

Welcome to Hallmark Health System's (HHS) Media Coverage section. This section is designed to assist patients and journalists seeking information about our current news and to introduce our healthcare experts. We are also available to assist you by providing information about HHS and its members, including Lawrence Memorial of Medford and Melrose-Wakefield Hospitals.

To arrange an interview or photo shoot, contact This email address is being protected from spambots. You need JavaScript enabled to view it., Director, Media Relations and Social Media, at 781-338-7234. We also maintain a 24-hour media on-call system. If you are on deadline after normal business hours, call the HHS operator at 781-979-3000 and ask them to page the media relations team member on-call.

Hallmark program: ‘Meet, Mingle, Mammogram’

Melrose Free Press

Oct. 13, 2011

By Jessica Sacco

“Meet, Mingle, Mammogram” is an opportunity for women who are due for their first mammogram to attend an event that aims to give them a pleasant and relaxing first-time experience.

“There are an awful lot of woman who have a fear of having a mammogram,” said Judy Sadacca, outreach manager for Imaging and Cardiac-Endovascular services at Hallmark Health. “We wanted to have a spa kind of evening so they feel comfortable and schedule an annual for the following year.”

Sponsored by Hallmark Health and the Massachusetts Affiliate of Susan G. Komen for the Cure, the program was developed to eliminate the fear associated with having a mammogram. Women are treated to a spa-like evening, with chair and hand massages, makeup demonstrations and manicures. Refreshments and hors d’oeuvres are served and guests walk away with a free “swag bag” filled with goodies like soaps, skin products a first aid kit and more.

Mammographers and breast health educators are also present at the event to provide the opportunity for woman to ask questions about the procedure and learn about breast exams, nutrition and exercise.

Who is eligible to participate?
Women who wish to attend must be ages 40 or older and never had a mammogram (or never had one through Hallmark Health, which operates Melrose-Wakefield Hospital and Lawrence Memorial Hospital in Medford, among other facilities).

Who needs screening?
The American College of Radiology and the American Cancer Society recommend annual screening mammograms for all women 40 years and older.

John Seccareccio, operations manager of Imagining Services at Hallmark Health, said early detection is the key for breast cancer. The longer one waits, the lower the percentage becomes for early detection.

“Early detection is the best protection,” added Sadacca.

According to Hallmark Health, annual mammograms are covered by insurance if scheduled 12 full months and one day apart. No referral or physician order is necessary.

Building the program
As part of a $40,000 grant from the Massachusetts Affiliate of Susan G. Komen for the Cure, Hallmark Health has planned four “Meet, Mingle, Mammogram” events.

Last year, the organization put on its first event in May, with 21 women attending. Both Sadacca and Seccareccio were pleased with the outcome and reactions from the women.

“The feedback has been really fabulous,” said Seccareccio. “The whole atmosphere just took away from the exam and helped [the woman] with the experience.”

This year, Hallmark Health officials decided to aim their efforts at specific groups within the community.

“We’re targeting diverse populations because they tend to have a harder time connecting with a caregiver,” said Sadacca.

In August, the first of these targeted sessions was held, focused on connecting with Portuguese woman. Hallmark Health partnered with the YWCA of Malden and the Mass Alliance of Portuguese Speakers (MAPS) and the 19 ladies who attended were treated to Portuguese cuisine and music.

Although Hallmark health is reaching out to specific populations for some of the sessions, they are all open to all women.

What’s next?
In November, Hallmark Health and Susan G. Komen for the Cure will offer a session aimed at Spanish speakers, and there will be sessions this winter focusing on Haitian and Asian woman. Although Hallmark health is reaching out to specific populations for some of the sessions, they are all open to all women.

All “Meet, Mingle, Mammogram” sessions will take place at a mammography site on 101 Main St. in Medford.

For more information, call 800-540-9191 or check back at the calendar at to see when the next session is announced.

Fourth annual Hallmark Health walk hits its ‘Stride’

Medford Transcript

Sept. 29, 2011

By Jonathan Pickering

The route for this year’s Hallmark Health Stride for Health Walk has changed — and so have some of the participants.

For it’s fourth year, Hallmark has teamed up with the Boston Bruins to support community education efforts for cardiovascular health. In past years, the walk has rounded Spot Pond, but this year will take place from the TD Bank Garden in Boston.

The 3K walk will begin at 8 a.m. on Sunday, Oct. 2 at the 100 Legends Way location and continue through Boston’s North End, looping back to the Garden, where a family-oriented barbecue, complete with activities and games, will be topped off with a free raffle for walkers, giving away two B’s tickets.  

“There will also be a few surprises for fans,” said Joanne Schamberg, chairman of the volunteer organization coordinating the event. “We already have over 250 pre-registered walkers. The Bruins mascot, Blades, will be there, along with the Ice Girls.”

Danielle Patturelli, a nurse at the Cardiovascular Center, said the funds raised will go towards CPR training.

“We want to stress the community benefits of this event,” said Patturelli, who is also coordinator of community education for Hallmark. “All the money raised for the event goes towards CPR training we provide to students, who in turn make a pledge to train their friends and family concerning CPR and what to do if someone is choking. Each individual student receives their own kit and we teach on-site.”

Patturelli said that during the past three years, Hallmark has trained more than 1,000 students annually, targeting Medford, Malden and Melrose in the past. She added Hallmark is expanding to Wakefield and Reading high schools with this year’s walk.

“The training gets implemented into the student’s curriculum, through health or gym class,” Patturelli said. “We basically stress how fortunate, as a community, we are to be able to provide this training.

It’s training like this we practice at Hallmark that has made our response time to heart attack victims from when the enter the center to treatment, under 90 minutes.”

Shamberg added Boston isn’t the only place for patients to receive quality cardiovascular care.

“Surrounding communities like Melrose, Medford, Wakefield and others can offer the same kind of great health care,” she said.

For those interested in joining the walk, there are a number of different ways to get involved. You can sign-up to participate in the walk itself, make a donation, sponsor a walker, or become a virtual walker.

“We know it’s a busy time of year, so not everyone can walk in person,” said Schamberg. “So we set up an online tracking system where sponsors can still make a donation and be part of the action even if they can't make the walk.”

Signing up for the Stride For Health Walk can be done through Hallmark’s website at or you can pick up the phone and call the Development Office at 781-979-6100.

Hallmark opens Cosmetic & Laser Center at Reading offices

Reading Advocate

Sept. 29, 2011

By Steven Ryan

Even in a tough economy, one thing remains constant: People will spend money to look and feel good.

Hallmark Health hopes it can help people look good and feel confident with its new Cosmetic & Laser Center, which opened at its Readings offices on New Crossing Road this past June.

“When the recession was happening, people still went to nail salons and beauty parlors,” said Melissa Roberto, director of ambulatory services for Hallmark Health. “Even when people have difficulties, looking good, feeling good is important to people. When you feel good, your self-esteem is increased and it is projected in everything you do.”

The center was developed after the folks at Hallmark Health brainstormed uses for open space at its Reading building and developed the idea for the center. Unlike many places specializing in cosmetic and laser surgery, Hallmark believes having a registered nurse perform the procedures makes it a safer and more desirable option.

“Having Hallmark behind the venture, we can have the safety and quality behind it,” Roberto said.

Services at the center include laser hair removal, brown spot removal, spider vein removal and a skin -tightening alternative to Botox using the laser to stimulate the collagen in the skin. The center does also Botox for those who prefer it, along with Juvederm and Radiesse.
Roberto said laser hair removal is the center’s most popular service followed by spider vein removal and brown spot removal. The center sees a wide range of people, typically folks between 35 and 65. And not all the patients are women, with Roberto describing men as an area that “continues to grow.”

“You have people around 35 getting older and they don’t want to age and do a lot to prevent that,” Roberto said, noting the skin products the center sells as particularly popular among that group.
She touted the medical-grade, research-driven Obagi skin care products the center offers which is “anything Macy’s has and bumping it up a level.”

“You also have baby boomers who don’t want to age,” Roberto said. “They feel young and active and when they look in the mirror, they don’t like what they might see.”

In the future, the center hopes to purchase a second laser and perform procedures such as “Smartlipo,” which is a less invasive form of liposuction using the laser, tattoo removal, fungus removal, “lunchtime peals” and various other services.

“We built it out to expand,” Roberto said. “We are here to stay.”

Roberto pointed out the center works in coordination with the rest of the Hallmark Health system. It also active in promoting healthy lifestyle choices that would minimize the need for cosmetic treatments, promoting healthy habits such as applying sunscreen.

At the same time, the center is seeking to raise awareness of its services, first in Reading but eventually to surrounding communities, by offering discounts through local businesses and hoping for a word-of-mouth buzz, which Roberto said has already paid some dividends. She said she believes the center’s prices are competitive, while providing quality treatments.

Roberto did note the center does not accept insurance since the treatments offered at the center are not usually covered since they are cosmetic. But Jannique Holland, the center’s office coordinator, noted it doesn’t mean the services offered aren’t important.

“It’s not just fluff and buff,” she said. “It gets to the heart of one’s confidence and sense of well being. It feels good helping people get that confidence back.”

Lydia Pelletier, of Reading, went to the center for laser hair removal and she chose to go to the Hallmark center because it had a registered nurse.

“The number one reason why I decided to go there was because it was a medical facility,” she said, noting she belongs to the Hallmark Health group. “If something happened, I was in a medical network.”

Pelletier said she would recommend the center to others based on her experience.

“They do things wonderfully in there,” she said. “I wasn’t surprised [about the center opening]; I was really excited.”

As for the importance of such services, Pelletier said the reasons for seeking such treatments depends “person-by-person,” while noting she did not seek out the treatment for cosmetic purposes. But based on the results, she would have sought the treatment anyways.

“There are benefits in the long run,” she said. “I don’t have to shave.”

Hallmark Health dinners look to help women improve their health

Medford Transcript

Sept. 7, 2011

By Nicholas Iovino

It’s no secret that women often rank taking care of others above taking care of themselves. The health of those caregivers, however, could not be more important for the children, husbands and older relatives who depend on them.

That’s one reason why Hallmark Health, which includes Lawrence Memorial Hospital of Medford and Melrose-Wakefield Hospital, has organized a series of dinner seminars this fall inviting women to learn more about their health and how to avoid the pitfalls that accompany stress, aging and cancer risk.

“Women really are the caregivers,” said Judy Sadacca, outreach manager for imaging and endovascular services at Hallmark Health. “If you look at that, then caregivers have to take care of themselves, too. We tend to look at ourselves last.”

Hallmark experts will give presentations on different topics, including breast health, coping skills for the stresses of life, and the importance of early detection to minimize the risks associated with cancer. The series of dinners will take place at the Montvale Plaza, 54 Montvale Ave., Stoneham, on Sept. 21, Oct. 19 and Nov. 3.

“One of the important things we hope to come out of this is to empower women to speak to physicians about their breast health,” said Eileen Dern, director for community services for Hallmark Health. “I think that’s a really important part of this. Women have to feel empowered about talking to their health care providers and feel free to ask those questions.”

The first dinner seminar on Sept. 21 focuses on women’s breast health, genetic testing and mammography. Attendees will hear presentations from Patricia Sereno, MD, family physician and Boston medical director for Susan G. Komen 3-Day for the Cure; Rebecca Eisenberg, MD, medical director, Hallmark Health Hematology and Oncology Center and Olga Efimova, MD, PhD and radiologist.

Breast cancer is the most common cancer among American women, other than skin cancers, according to the American Cancer Society. The latest statistics show that one in eight women will develop invasive breast cancer over the course of her lifetime.

The American Cancer Society estimates about 230,480 new cases of invasive breast cancer will be diagnosed for women in 2011.

“We really want to dispel the myths about mammography and breast imaging,” said Dern.

In 2009, the U.S. Preventive Services Task Force concluded that women in their 40s should stop having annual mammograms and older women should cut back to one exam every other year. Hallmark experts and the Susan G. Komen for the Cure refute that study, saying it’s more important than ever for women to conduct monthly self breast exams and for women 40 and older to schedule an annual mammogram.

Breastfeeding is another practice health experts are pushing women to adopt post-pregnancy. Surgeon General Regina M. Benjamin released a “Call to Action to Support Breastfeeding” in January of this year.

“Aside from benefiting the baby, it’s also helpful for women,” said Dern. “They are less likely to develop breast cancer.”

The second dinner seminar on Oct. 19 is called “Finding the Wise Woman Inside of You, the Wise Women’s Health Club.” Paula Kelly from the Huggins Center for Alternative Therapy and Paula Richards of Spirit Rising Studio will give presentations on alternative therapies like yoga and reiki and talk about how to listen to your body.

“It’s about coping with the stressors of daily life,” Dern said. “Women will hear about healthy ways to cope rather than overeating.”

Screenings and health information will also be provided. Attendees will have a chance to get their blood pressure tested, screen for osteoporosis and register for a mammogram in the future.

The third dinner seminar, scheduled for Nov. 3, is titled “A Wealth of Knowledge Awaits You — Cancer Talks for Women.”  Experts from Hallmark’s Health Hematology and Oncology Center will discuss ways women can reduce their risk for developing cancer and detect it early using age appropriate screenings.

“Our specialists are going to be talking that evening about the health screenings they can do, some cancers that are more specific to women than men, and cancers that women don’t think about like lung cancer or head and neck cancer,” Sadacca said.

The series of dinner seminars is free and open to everyone, but participants must register in advance either by going to the events calendar at or by calling 1-800-540-9191.

Funding for the series was provided by the Hallmark Health Hematology and Oncology Center, Hallmark Health Women’s Catalyst Fund and Susan G. Komen for the Cure, Massachusetts Affiliate.
An annual women’s golf tournament held in May also helped provide funds for the series.

“We’re tying the pieces together so they can really see the connection,” Dern said. “You don’t’ have to attend all three [seminars]. We expect that women will be interested in different topics and expect to get a wide range of people from their 20s through their elder years.”


Hallmark teaches parents how to shop with tots

Melrose Free Press

Aug. 17, 2011

By Rob Barry

It’s a problem that parents everywhere will face at one time or another: shopping with a toddler. You never know how long their attention span will last or what they’re likely to get into. It can be a lot for a parent to handle.

In an ongoing series of events called “Shopping with Tots,” Hallmark Health is trying to make a difference.

“It’s important to get the kids involved,” said Kim Talbot, nutrition manager at Hallmark, “We always say you’re looking for 3 grams of dietary fiber. Give them that box and have them compare it to Cheerios to get them to see the difference.”

Challenges are everywhere in the supermarket, Talbot said, most of the sugary foods kids see advertised during their cartoons are not what they should ideally be eating, yet they’re all on shelves at toddler eye level.

To get parents thinking about fun strategies to get their tots involved in shopping, Talbot has helped to organize a series of scavenger hunts at the Shaw’s Supermarket on Essex Street.

“For the program we have them do a rainbow scavenger hunt,” said Talbot. “So they try to find something of every color.”

The idea, Talbot said, is to try to use kids’ developmental stages to your (an their) advantage. Older kids who are starting to read can make a game out of reading labels and looking for certain ingredients. Or they can work on counting by looking for the number of grams of healthy ingredients like fiber.

The scavenger hunts are designed to last under 30 minutes, which Talbot says is about as long an attention span as you can hope from a 2-to-5-year-old. The organizers tell the kids that each color of vegetable has different benefits to the body and they go off searching.

Talbot said some of them had a tougher time finding blue or purple produce.

“This last one we had a little boy come who was wearing big rain boots and binoculars,” Talbot said. “He was looking down the aisles. I think his mother had gotten him excited before the scavenger hunt.”

The final Shopping with Tots scavenger hunt will take place on Oct. 11 at 9:30 a.m. at the Shaw’s on Essex Street.

For some general tips, Talbot said it’s good to teach kids what numbers to look for where. For instance, on any juice product, you can teach kids to look for “100 percent juice.”

“And don’t make your kid be a member of the clean plate club” Talbot said. “Kids eat until they feel filled up. Don’t make food a reward or penalty.”

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